Numlock News: August 9, 2018

By Walt Hickey

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Online Spending

Amazon gets about 5 percent of U.S. retail spending, which is somehow only the second-most ridiculous statistic in this article about them. Amazon is forecasted to get a staggering 49 percent of American online spending this year, up from 43.5 percent last year. The closest runner-up (eBay) will get only 6.6 percent. That’s nuts.

Shira Ovide, Bloomberg


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it will attempt to get the Oscars ceremony down to three hours and will cram in a pointless award to recognize popular movies. This followed what was reported to be a meeting with ABC regarding why people stopped watching the Oscars. This year’s ceremony was 3 hours, 53 minutes, the nine Best Picture nominees averaged $78.7 million domestically, and its 26.6 million average viewers was down 19 percent from 2017. Just have Dwayne Johnson host. Ignore extra awards or forcing Best Animated Short into some pregame show or cutting off a speech after 30 seconds. Just get a host that people want to watch. Hell, I’d watch The Rock give out the dang Fields medal. I would watch it live, in prime time!

Daniel Holloway, Variety

Same Store Papa John’s Sales

Papa John’s announced that same store sales fell 10.5 percent from July 2 to July 29 in the wake of the eponymous John saying the worst racial slur on a phone call. In related news, apparently like 89 percent of Papa John’s customers will overlook the casual use of deplorable ethnic obscenities at the highest levels if you give them a pickled pepperoncini and some free garlic sauce on the side.

Sarah Whitten, CNBC

Marvel Characters

After years off the pages of Marvel Comics, the Fantastic Four are back! Over at Marvel I analyzed just how consequential the First Family is when it comes to introducing characters and places and species that define that universe. Of the 100 most frequently appearing Marvel characters and teams, 13 were introduced in a Fantastic Four book — including Black Panther! — and conservatively 5 percent of all characters in Marvel originate through the Four. My favorite? The Flb’Dbi, a race of communist arachnoids. Comics are awesome.

Me, Marvel


Now that the dust is settling, Instagram cloning the core feature of Snapchat appears to be a dizzying success. Snap announced it has 188 million daily active users, a loss of 3 million daily active users and its first ever decline. Last we heard, Instagram Stories had 400 million DAUs. Insta passed Snap as the medium of choice for this-message-will-self-destruct social media sometime in early 2017.

Kurt Wagner, Recode

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Gender Gap for Chores and Allowances

An analysis of data from the American Time Use Survey found that boys aged 15 to 19 do about a half hour of housework per day compared to 45 minutes per day for girls the same age. Another analysis of allowances paid out in 10,000 families found that boys made an average of $13.80 per week, more than double the $6.71 girls made on average. Yikes.

Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times

Cohesion Funding

From 2000 to 2020 the European Union will spend €858 billion ($992 billion) on what’s called “cohesion funding,” or money allocated to areas with economic output below 90 percent of the EU average. The goal is to invest in the infrastructure and economies of regions left behind by prosperity or just joining the EU, and to bring the gross national income per capita up to speed with the rest of the bloc. In 11 of the 28 states, EU funding was over 40 percent of infrastructure spending from 2015 and 2017.

Laurence Norman and Drew Hinshaw, The Wall Street Journal

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